- Legal States
Kyamil Nasuf November 3, 2022 3 min read
Fitch Ratings Updates 2023 Outlook for Las Vegas Strip Casinos
Indeed, you can have too much of a good thing, and Fitch Ratings Services predicts that Las Vegas Strip casinos might have reached their peak in 2022. The 2023 outlook analysts had for Las Vegas initially had gaming as a stronghold but it seems growth rates have been somewhat unsustainable.
Small Adjustments to Expectations
Following the 2022 Global Gaming Expo, Fitch released an update to its predictions for 2023 and the industry. The report sees a potential 5-15% decline in year-over-year (YoY) gross gaming revenue (GGR). Analysts predict that the higher decline will be in markets that have already surpassed their pre-pandemic results, and the Las Vegas Strip was given as an example.
The special report recapped some of the leading factors for this outlook, including the potential recess and challenging capital markets access. According to Fitch, economic headwinds will lead to a drop in the levels of leisure travel overall. However, this can be offset by an increase in convention attendance and analysts estimate that operators are in a good shape to weather the slight pullback.
The overall sentiment was that the industry was going to perform very well, and monthly results are expected to continue to be strong, so the special report’s purpose was to fine-tune rather than redefine the company’s outlook. Such updates, following a great gathering of industry figures, are normal and expected.
Success Story Hard to Ignore
Even without challenging economic conditions, and although it might be “the dream” for some, unimpeded growth isn’t possible, and even if it was – it’s not sustainable in the real world. The Strip’s performance this year was on the cusp of disproving that, however. August was the 18th month in a row for Nevada’s overall gaming revenue to clock in above $1 billion, marking a historic moment for the industry.
Even in the summer, though, there was already talk of a slowdown for 2023. Colin Mansfield – a lead analyst at Fitch – was widely cited back in August commenting on an expected 10% dip, and the sentiment back carried the same cautious optimism that the special report from October did. With inflationary pressures climbing, however, the nuance in moving the needle closer to caution than optimism.
Arguably the most important factor for continuing the overall positive sentiment, however, is that now the industry is much better positioned to weather a downturn. Not only because operators and authorities are more experienced and better equipped to react but also because the industry’s overall health has much improved.
The new starting point for Strip casinos is even above pre-pandemic levels, profitability has increased, GGR is at record levels, and momentum was still strong as recently as September, which was the 19th month in a row above $1 billion.